Daily TIPs, Cyber-Sopranos, Republican Spiders, Broadband Goes Nuclear, & More

7/16/08

Online Crime Gets More Organized

Cybercrime, once the province of unaffiliated hackers, is coalescing into to a more organized structure that resembles the Mafia, according to a report from the web security company Finjan, of San Jose, CA. As described by Ars Technica, Finjan found that cybercriminals are often organized into a system with a boss and several underbosses and lieutenants. Leave the computer virus, take the cannoli.

Biofuel Spending Doesn’t Cut Carbon, Group Claims

Between them, the United States and the European Union are spending $11 billion to promote biofuels. But Bloomberg reports that, according to a study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, all that spending is having little impact on carbon dioxide emissions. The report predicts a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by vehicles of, at best, 0.8 percent by 2015.

Sprint Moves to Higher-Speed Broadband

Sprint has announced plans to convert the core of its network to handle data traffic at 40 gigabits per second, GigaOm tells us. That’s up from the current standard of 10 Gb/s. The increase in speed is needed as video downloads and third-generation data transmission become increasingly popular, the company says.

CERN Previews Network of the Future

Today’s Internet capacity will seem incredibly limited in a decade or two, but some of the steps needed to increase bandwidth are being previewed in a large-scale physics project in Switzerland. As CNET News reports, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has built an ultra-high-speed network so scientists can share massive amounts of data collected from the world’s largest particle accelerator, scheduled to go online next month. The people who built the network are learning how to handle data moving at speeds about 1000 times as fast as the average home broadband connection.

U.S. Lags on Creating Science Graduates

The United States has not made as much progress on attracting more students to the sciences, engineering, mathematics, and technology-related fields as businesses had hoped, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 2005, 16 business groups called for the U.S. to double its number of bachelor’s degrees in those fields, from 200,000 in 2005 to 400,000 in 2015, to keep up with foreign competition. So far, the number has only grown to 225,000.

NASA Aids Fight against California Wildfires

Aerial sensing drones designed by NASA for research on global warming and general Earth science turn out to be great volunteer firefighters. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, the drones, equipped with infrared sensors, are able to identify trouble spots that firefighters don’t know about, allowing them to successfully adjust their strategy in combating the blazes.

Republican Spider Tracks Obama’s Website

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain may not, by his own admission, have much use for e-mail. But his campaign is employing an Internet spider to crawl Barack Obama’s website and keep track of any changes on an hourly basis, according to Wired. The campaign’s hope is to highlight any shifts in policy Obama might make.

EPA Creates Rules for Storing Carbon

One proposal for limiting greenhouse gas emissions is to capture carbon as it is produced at power plants and store it underground, perhaps in exhausted oil wells. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking a step toward making that possible by publishing a draft of a rule governing such underground storage. The New York Times quotes a carbon storage expert as saying the rule is an important step, but not the only one needed to make carbon storage a reality.

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